Sanchaya Nele staff regularly conduct awareness sessions for village residents on:
- Central and Karnataka state government welfare schemes for dalits, adivasis and rural poor
- Importance of birth and death registration
- Necessity of education especially for girls and reducing their dropout
- Maternal and child health
- Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and livelihood support
- Schemes/benefits for the physically challenged, senior citizens and widows
Actions are being taken by women's, men's and common collectives (that are being mentored by Sanchaya Nele) to challenge violence, harassment and human rights violations in Anekal taluk. The collectives in most villages are addressing issues of domestic violence on their own. The collectives are playing key role in mobilizing people for campaigns (Taluk level and State level) on various human rights issues.
Collectivization at local level
We are working in a focused manner in 120 villages in Anekal Taluk, Bangalore Urban District. We have initiated women’s collectives in all the villages and men’s collectives are in place in 35 villages. The collectives meet once a week and discuss various issues affecting local communities. Collective meetings are organized by the activists from Samatha. These meetings help in
- Strengthening the skills of collective members in organizational issues
- Strengthening the capacity of women to participate in public spheres
- Raise awareness on the existing government schemes that they can avail of; and the ways in which to ensure that these benefits do accrue to them.
- Formation of children’s clubs where they are encouraged to understand their cultural and political heritage including exposure to ideas and lives of dalit/ progressive leaders such as Ambedkar, Phule and Periyar
We have focused on strengthening the capacity of the members of women’s and men’s collectives. Focused discussions are held in both the collectives on various issues including:
- Issues of education – Including encouraging communities to enroll all children in schools, and scholarship for dalit children.
- The issue of hostels for dalit youth was a focused area of intervention. Besides highlighting the appalling condition of hostels, the fact that the hostels were being shut down under some pretext was also challenged. The hostels are important support structures for dalit youth who are pursuing higher studies
- The ‘Right To Information Act’ offers many possibilities to fight exploitation and corruption. Discussion on the ways to use the Act to fight state apathy is going on
- Engagement with the elected panchayat members to press for benefits for dalits, adivasis, religious minorities and the poor
- Approaching the banks and dialoguing with them on accessing credit and other facilities for dalits (especially dalit women) and other marginalized communities
Capacity Building and Leadership Development
Ongoing capacity building of collective members is done through the regular weekly meetings in a focused manner. Many in-house training programmes are conducted for the capacity enhancement of staff members. Regular participation in the joint programs with other human rights groups has contributed to the capacity enhancement of both staff and active community leaders.
Special Training/Awareness Programmes
Targetted sessions by practising experts are held for community leaders and staff:
- Laws - Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005; RTI Act 2005; SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989; Prevention of Transfer of Certain Lands Act (sections regarding SC/ST), 1979
- Importance and procedures of filing Public Interest Litigation (PIL)
- Counselling victims/survivors and families of gender and caste violence
- Climate change
- Right to Education, Food Security Bill, Communal Violence Bill
- Leadership skills
Campaigning and Human Rights Advocacy
We conducted many campaigns (alone and along with other groups) and have advocated on many issues at village, taluk, district and state levels on many issues. This include:
- Advocating for access to quality health services from the local hospital
- Advocating for access to various government schemes for the development of dalits, women, adivasis and the poor
- Organising, leading and seeking the support of others to press for justice in cases involving caste based discrimination anywhere in the state
- Being part of the advocacy against bonder labor system
- Working with the media (especially the local press) to take up issues of caste discrimination and violations; as well as the struggles of dalit groups
We have intervened in many crisis situations. Many times crisis situations were handled by the local collectives themselves completely. In some cases they were handled by the collectives along with Sanchaya Nele staff. The kind of crisis situations where we intervened include:
- Domestic violence issues: Here the interventions included dialogue, pressure from the collectives, legal support , intervention with the help of the state, psychological and political support to the woman etc
- Bonded labour: Besides identifying cases of bonded labour rescue mission were carried out and they were supported in their efforts to rebuild their lives.